Spilt Drinks in liquidation

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The controversial alcopop market received a further setback yesterday when news emerged that the Spilt Drinks Company has gone out of business. The collapse follows a recent statement by Bass that sales of its market- leading Hooper's Hooch, are falling.

Aptly named Spilt Drinks, based in Exeter, makes the Jammin range of Caribbean fruit crushes. Sales of the range were expected to grow from 15 million bottles in 1996 to 20 million this year. However, Spilt Drinks, which is part of the 21st Century Drinks group, has been forced to called in accountants Ernst & Young to put the company into voluntary liquidation. The level of liabilities should emerge when creditors and shareholders meet on 15 October to discover why the business failed.

The failure is further evidence of growing pressures on the alcopop market following a Government crackdown on labelling and the sales of the drinks to young people. Alcopops have been criticised for looking too much like soft drinks and so tempting children to drink under age. Bass is the market leader in the alcopop market.